The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is proud to host the 2020 Veterans Week celebration. This annual event features a week of educational programming that celebrates the experiences and sacrifice of those who have served our country.
All events are free and open to the university community and the general public unless otherwise noted. Please attend as many of these events as you can.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, and for concern for the health of our community and veterans, we are unable to offer most of these events in person. Please join us for respectful, educational, and inspirational panels, lectures, and stories via the links below each program, or download a PDF of the calendar below.
If you have any questions about this year’s events, please email Philip Larson, program director for U-M Veteran and Military Services, at email@example.com. Also, watch this page for updates and additional information.
Monday, Nov. 9
Since 1778 when Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin became the first service member dismissed from the military for homosexuality, persons who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender have faced discrimination in the military. Since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” LGBTQ+ service members have been allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military and federal benefits have been extended to cover their dependents. Come hear veterans talk about their service, sacrifice, and discrimination they faced while serving their country.
As COVID-19 continues to challenge our school, our nation, and our world, it is important to consider the strength and support that can come from community members sharing their diverse personal and professional experiences. Join us as University of Michigan School of Nursing military alumni discuss ways in which we can move forward and overcome the pandemic. Representatives from the Navy, Air Force, and Army bring forward a broad range of stories, from clinical nurse specialists currently on the front lines, to tales of tremendous adversity during a deployment in Baghdad. Now more than ever, we are in this together, and few understand this concept of unity better than the members of our Armed Forces.
Tuesday, Nov. 10
The War Dogs, Working Dogs, and Therapy Dogs panel will discuss the historic use of dogs in the military. This includes the selection and training of current and future K-9s for military and law enforcement work, and the invaluable service that K-9s provide to veterans and people with visible and invisible disabilities. We will discuss the benefits of therapy dogs to raise awareness of unconditional love and comfort that these animals provide, for however short a time, to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Finally, we will discuss the history of the Michigan War Dog Memorial and the services it provides to honor these wonderful dogs in a special location in South Lyon.
Graduate student veterans are a significant and vital population on the University of Michigan campus. This panel will feature graduate student veterans who discuss their experiences both in service and as graduate students. Areas of discussion will include military experience, transition to graduate school, challenges in graduate school, and intersections of identity. Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage in discussions with students during this session.
The military can prepare many people for a career in medicine and in healthcare. Michigan Medicine employees more than 400 veterans. Hear from these professionals as they discuss their experiences both in service and as veterans.
Wednesday, Nov. 11
What do students who have served in the military think about their experiences at U-M? What made them join the military? What did they do while they were in the military? These are just some of the questions you will hear answered by a group of students who have served in the U.S. military and are now studying at the University of Michigan.
Interest remains high in the Vietnam War, fought five decades ago. On this Veteran’s Day, four ‘Nam vets recall what happened to them on the ground, in the air, and in tents that served as medical operating theaters.
- Former Warrant Officer Dale Throneberry flew Huey Helicopters into combat under fire.
- On the ground, former Seabee Larry St. Antoine found himself at Khe Sahn surrounded by a major enemy force that was tunneling towards its perimeter every day.
- Peter Dodge served as an Army medic in Thailand receiving incoming wounded.
- Lawrence Dolph, panel moderator, served on Night Ambush Patrol trying to interdict Viet Cong mortar attacks on a giant base camp in the Mekong Delta before he was named an Army news correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division.
Their remarkable stories of service, sacrifice, and perseverance will change how you look at Vietnam and the people who served there.
New York Times bestselling author Michael Tougias will give a lecture and slide presentation on his book The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue. This book was made into a major motion picture by the Disney Corporation that was released in 2016. The film details the Coast Guard’s response to two oil tankers that were split in half by a ferocious nor’easter off the coast of Cape Cod, MA in 1952. Of the 84 seamen aboard the tankers, 70 would be rescued and 14 would perish. Tougias will also share the leadership lessons from this event that can help all of us in our decision-making and job performance. He will provide time for questions and answers.
Thursday, Nov. 12
While there is general support for those serving in the military and military veterans, their 2.8 million family members are often overlooked.
More than 600 students studying at UM-Ann Arbor have parents or spouses who are serving or have served in the U.S. military. Learn how they overcame obstacles, and supported their family members, and about their experiences of frequent moves, living on military bases, and traveling across the U.S. and the globe.
They are a resilient and determined part of our military-connected student family and they bring a lot to our campus! Come and hear their stories!
“The Weight of Honor” is the first comprehensive documentary to chronicle the lives of families caring for their catastrophically wounded returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the course of five years, the film follows the arc of what happens when some of America’s best and strongest volunteer to protect our nation, but return home physically and emotionally broken and disillusioned. What happens when they return is not only a personal journey but also that of their family caregivers who have no training other than the love for their wounded. Our military does not prepare families for the return of a wounded warrior.
“The Weight of Honor” tells their stories of strength, exhaustion, conflict, and even humor as they chart a course through the unknown. The panel will feature discussion with Stephanie Seldin Howard, director/producer of “The Weight of Honor”, and Linzi Andersen, a featured family member/caregiver in film.
Come with questions about VA Healthcare and VA Benefits! Ann Arbor is lucky to have one of the best VA healthcare systems in the country as our next-door neighbor. In fact, many of the healthcare professionals at the Ann Arbor VA also work for Michigan Medicine. UM-Ann Arbor is one of the only campuses in the country with VA healthcare and VA benefits specialists embedded on our campus through our VITAL and VSOC programs. Jon Cuginia and Brittany Tyrrell will discuss their roles on campus, their roles and knowledge about the VA, and answer your questions about this vital resource to our student, staff, faculty, and community members who have served.
Offered in collaboration with University of Michigan-Flint – Student Veterans of America. The diversity, equality, and inclusion lecture/discussion will focus on racial equality in the military and the induction of the first all African American Marine unit, the Montford Point Marines. Established in 1942, the unit’s valor and performance at Peleliu, Iwo Jima, the Chosen Reservoir, Vietnam, and more paved the way for our present integrated armed forces. The keynote speaker of the lecture will be retired Sergeant Major Eugene Owens form the Montford Point Marines Detachment of the Marine Corps League. We will discuss racial issues in the military of the past and present.
What does it mean to serve beside people of every race, gender, creed, religion, place of origin? How does military service take people from different backgrounds and create an effective unit? Unknown to many, the United States military is the most diverse employer in the U.S. It has constantly led the way in expanding its meaning of service member and pushed racial, gender, and sexual orientation boundaries decades before the civilian workplace. Hear from our panel about life in the military, what it can teach us about a diverse civilian culture, and how veterans/military increase our own DEI initiatives.
Friday, Nov. 13
Since WWI and before, women have served vital supportive roles in the U.S. military. Now women are serving alongside their male counterparts in some of the most dangerous work in the military. Often they have to overcome sexist stereotypes, sexual harassment, or worse all while serving their country. Hear their stories of perseverance, grit, and courage when they honorably served in the U.S. military.